3rd December 2019
Paul McGrath and James Henry, instructed by Benjamin Leech of Keoghs LLP, secured a committal order of immediate imprisonment for 5 months for contempt of court against Mr Robert Hall. Paul McGrath appeared in the committal hearing, and James Henry acted at sentencing stage.
Rowena Collins-Rice sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge found Mr Hall guilty of contempt of court for making false statements on three documents verified by statements of truth. In addition to the five month custodial sentence, Mr Hall was ordered to pay the full amount of LV’s costs of the committal proceedings, which came to over £21,000.
Mr Hall had claimed for whiplash injuries which he had allegedly suffered as a passenger in his grandmother’s car on 28 February 2016. However, he was not in the car at the time and therefore did not suffer any such injuries.
Mr Hall approached solicitors who, with his authority, submitted a claim notification form, a claim form and particulars of claim, each verified by a statement of truth signed on his behalf. These three documents falsely alleged that he was a passenger in the car and suffered the injuries claimed, with a total value of no more than £5,000. After LV issued a defence alleging that his claim was dishonest and that he was not in the car, Mr Hall stopped actively pursuing the claim, but did not discontinue it either. After a year and a half, and with multiple orders made in the meantime, the court was required to strike out the claim. Following on from this decision, LV commenced these successful committal proceedings against Mr Hall.
During sentencing, Rowena Collins-Rice emphasised the seriousness of insurance fraud, which results in ordinary people paying higher car insurance premiums. She noted the gravity of drawing in the justice system by making false assertions in documents backed by statements of truth, which wastes court resources and negatively impacts genuine litigants.